Taliban authorities on Tuesday condemned UN accusations that they are violating the rights of women to work in Afghanistan, insisting thousands are employed in the country’s public sector.
But Sharafuddin Sharaf, chief of staff at the ministry of labour and social affairs, told AFP that many women were being paid despite not attending work, as offices were not set up for proper segregation of the sexes.
“Working together in one office is not possible in our Islamic system,” he said, a day after a United Nations rights expert said there had been a “staggering regression” in women’s rights since the Taliban’s return to power in August.
He could offer no figure on the number of women working but insisted “not a single female employee has been fired” from the civil service.
However, there have been several protests by women over losing their jobs and demanding the right to work — some of which have been put down forcefully by the Taliban.
Sharaf said some women only went to work “once in a week to their relevant offices to sign their attendance, and their salaries are paid at their homes”.
This takes place in offices where “gender-based segregation is yet to be done,” he said, adding that women were at work in the health, education and interior ministries where they are needed.
Sharaf said it was up to the all-male leadership of the Taliban to decide when women “can come to the rest of the offices where they are not coming currently”. His comments come after a UN rights expert said women’s freedoms had significantly deteriorated since the Taliban returned.—AFP